Monday, 5 March 2012

Cardamom Mountains

By Mark

We had been planning on a ride through the Cardamoms all the way back in Banlung and finally made our way through the dusty windy mountain roads on our last two days in Cambodia. Since there are now so many hydro power stations being built by the Chinese they have also made roads to access them. There is one main road that runs straight through the mountains and you no longer have to take the old logging track unless you are looking for a real adventure. With our heavily loaded bikes we chose the easy option but would love to go back one day on a light bike and give the track a go. With just a 100km ride in we took a leisurely pace and checked out a few side tracks along the way. Not too much traffic except for the trucks hauling gravel from the quarry to the work sites. These guys are only going slow but boy do they kick up some dust. Just check out Sanne's face in the photos. This was only just 50km's in! Our goal was to make it to the small village of Osom, and small it was. Surprisingly there were three guest houses there. We found ourselves a clean, little room and set off for a look around town. We were met with many strange looks but many smiles from the curious as ever kids. I think my look now with my beard seems to be getting me even more attention if that is at all possible. The only power in the village comes from generators and it doesn't come on until about 6pm and is off again not long after 9pm. This made for a quiet night. The following morning we hit the road early to get back down the mountain pass and get across the Thailand border. The roads were not so dusty as we had some rain that evening and made for a quick cool ride if not a little slick in places.

Runaway tanker that didn't quite make it round the bend

This gives you a pretty good idea just how dusty the roads are!

There are hydro power plants being built everywhere in the mountains

The guys are amazing at what they can carry on the back of a scooter

Just one example of the many basic homes you find in the villages along the roadside

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